Psychological Problems in Mental Deficiency

Psychological Problems in Mental Deficiency

Psychological Problems in Mental Deficiency

Psychological Problems in Mental Deficiency

Excerpt

The field of mental deficiency has received relatively little attention from psychologists and psychiatrists. Perusal of standard texts in psychiatry and abnormal psychology reveals that mental deficiency is usually accorded a single (and small) chapter in which a critical evaluation of psychological theories, procedures, and results is distinguished by its absence. It is small wonder that psychological work with the mentally deficient has been considered as uninteresting and unfruitful. It is probably superfluous to state that this book is evidence of my own belief that the psychological problems in mental deficiency are as intriguing, puzzling, and pressing as those found in any other clinical group. I hope that in this book I have succeeded in demonstrating that the psychological problems in mental deficiency present a challenge to the theoretician as well as to the clinician. I might add that I also hope that the reader will be impressed by how little we know about some important problems in this area and how pressing is the need for systematic research.

It is a pleasure to express my indebtedness to the following: to Dr. Frederick J. Gaudet who introduced me to the field of psychology in general and mental deficiency in particular and who has been a constant source of encouragement to me in my work; to Mr. E. N. Roselle, Superintendent of the Southbury Training School, who made it possible for me to have the time and facilities to do research while I was working in that institution; to Dr. Herman Yannet who helped in countless ways to sharpen my thinking about the mentally deficient; to Dr. Joseph Epstein who critically read and helped revise Chapter 3; to Dr. John Dollard who read the first two chapters and made many helpful suggestions; to Dr. Donal Dunphy who read Chapters 5, 7, and 8 and made helpful comments; to Dr. Muzafer Sherif with whom I had many stimulating discussions about some of the problems raised in Chapters 4 and 6; to the staff of the Sterling Medical Library whose . . .

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